San Francisco

Richard Schoenhoff

Venus Gallery

Schoenhoff is one of ten 1964 MFA recipients from the University of California who opened a cooperative gallery in September with a rather weak group exhibition. One-man shows, of which this is the first, will, one hopes, separate the chaff from the grain. Schoenhoff is not apt to be the first discard. His drawings are exceptionally strong—although in the “Implex” series they are much too direct in approach to justify the title even in a mathematical sense. A bold, Kline-ish calligraphy does create a limited system of surfaces, but greater complication is needed to fulfill the meaning of the word. One cannot depend upon space from outside the frame for help—if such was his intention.

In painting he links up with Pollock, and several of these works have been painted over earlier Pollock-influenced canvases. Not all of the dripped textures are disguised; he has used them frankly, adjunct to unrelated shapes or references. Or as memory references, as in Links with Bygone Days of Yore (the redundancy is deliberate). Schoenhoff’s most recent works reflect his interest in Tibetan prayer-wheels and oriental robes. Most successful among these is Green Bars, where space and shape culminate in the implex he strives for in the drawings.

Elizabeth M. Polley